Abstract

Optical properties of natural photonic structures can inspire material developments in diversified areas, such as the spectral design of surfaces for camouflage. Here, reflectance, scattering, and polarization properties of the cuticle of the scarab beetle Cyphochilus insulanus are studied with spectral directional hemispherical reflectance, bidirectional reflection distribution function (BRDF) measurements, and Mueller-matrix spectroscopic ellipsometry (MMSE). At normal incidence, a reflectance (0.6–0.75) is found in the spectral range of 400–1600 nm and a weaker reflectance <0.2 in the UV range as well as for wavelengths >1600nm. A whiteness of W=42 is observed for mainly the elytra of the beetle. Chitin is a major constituent of the insect cuticle which is verified by the close similarity of the measured IR spectrum to that of α-chitin. The BRDF signal shows close-to-Lambertian properties of the beetle for visible light at small angles of incidence. From the MMSE measurement it is found that the beetles appear as dielectric reflectors reflecting linearly polarized light at oblique incidence with low gloss and a low degree of polarization. The measured beetle properties are properties that can be beneficial in a camouflage material.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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